26 Oct 2012

Meet Brenda Dennis, a senior director of strategy and planning for Cisco’s $32B global enterprise business. That is what her day job is now, before the bottom almost fell out from beneath her. More on that in a moment.

Brenda is also a wife, mother of three boys, ages 9, 11, and 13. She is Executive Sponsor for the Cisco Women’s Advisory Board. She is also Chairperson of the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters N.J. and involved in other non-profits.

Whew! That’s a high energy gal!

So here is what happened to this GUTSY WOMAN. There was a restructuring at work and Brenda decided to take this adversity and redefine it. You know, the lemons into margaritas thing.

During the restructure, her job was eliminated. Poof and gone; couldn’t even re-interview for it. She was a gal without a country; or at least without a job description.

She took a few days to mourn the change. There was nothing she could do about it and it did not seem fair. It was like going through the stages of grief. She experienced sadness, anger, and eventually made peace with the fact that “it is what it is”.

That was when she took control of what she could. She put on her smiley face and began to network with everyone. “No” she said to herself, she would NOT leave this company.

Brenda got this amazing job as senior director of strategy and planning at Cisco, the company she loves. She also learned from turning adversity on its head that ‘it can’t be done alone; you need to find your place in your community”.

Now Brenda is a mentor for other women, asking them to be GUTSY and go after their dreams and not to give up. Ever!

When I interviewed Brenda for the PA Conference for Women several weeks ago, she was to be on a panel about “words of wisdom”; a great place for her to be a role model for other women who have to face the fear and do it anyway.

Brenda’s story is an example of taking that adversity, adding some grit (we all have inside us if we just get quiet and get listening) and viola, resilience shows up.

And here is the take away, the goody for reading this: she asked for help. It was, she sighed, difficult at first since strong females on the superwoman track want to do it alone. Nope, not true! And when she asked for help she found out how many heard the call and responded.

Brenda’s best advice is to reach out and ask someone for help.

Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.


Previously posted on www.examiner.com.

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